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Mildura-Coomealla CC Red Cliffs Cemetery Handicap
July 28, 2002
The Big Engine Bounces Back!
by Peter Winton
Sit back with a long drink as this is gonna be a novel (that should please you Arthur !)
First of all, to our Taswegian web browsers, no Pale Rider this week, sorry.
Secondly, to the god of Wind (does anyone know who that entity is? [Seth, Shina-Tsu-Hiko, Ehecatl, Vayu... pick your pantheon - mythology Ed]) have a holiday will ya? Even though Mildura basked in a wonderful 23 degrees Celsius the wind factor played a significant part in our event. Get lost would you, it's hard enough as it is.
20 riders found their way to the Wilga Road start line and no one got lost this time. "Whizzer" White was there waiting to watch the cyclists do their thing, seems he can't stay away now!
The handicapper, Kev Gregory, organised 5 groups, limit off with a 10 minute advantage from the riders from "hell". In this bunch we had Billy Wass, Robyn Doyle, Pete Mulhearn (no VB - it is this week), Adrian Lloyd, Ken Joy and David Priest our 2 "steel is real" bikists. Second limit had the mid-ground with 5 minutes from either end, Gregory, Harvey Dwyer (oh, those shamals DY!), Brendan (Bob the Builder) Liddle and Winton. With a separation of 1 minute from second limit, the remaining B grade riders of Mark Phillips, Harry "chechu" Robbins, Barry Pollock (complete with Spanish jet-lag) and Jack Lokan had a difficult choice to make, go like buggery or wait for the "CB" bunch a further 2 minutes back. "CB" had the punch of the bustling Beruldsen, Welsh and Shipsides (on his way to A grade!). Go like buggery they chose.
The perennial scratch markers of Baudry and McNally were joined today with the return of Kev Tankard, our cycling version of Phar Lap (in terms of the motor). Go like buggery they always choose!
Limit were busted early, such is life, Wass and Doyle jettisoned on lap one of the 7 lap affair. The remaining foursome held sway for some time after that. Second limit didn't have the legs to churn out the big gears today, instead settling into a self- preservation mode and waiting for their B grade colleagues to come by. With 5 weeks of Spanish cycling under his belt, Barry Pollock drove his group fair into the back of the second limit. "Chechu" gesturing by pointed index finger fair at the veteran as the bully-boy rider of their pack, "let's get 'em" he was reported as commanding.
Get 'em they did. Unfortunately the increased numbers didn't convert into a higher bunch speed. The god of Wind saw to it that lots of leg energy was to be spent on the head wind side, coupled with the rolling hill effect, speed was not easy to find. When Lokan yelled urgently "they're coming and they're coming hard" it was a mix of relief and anxiety all at once. Here so soon, on lap 3 and a half, we're now in for a 3 lap scratch race! Crikey, can I ride in the limit bunch next time.
Baudry, as usual, powering up to and beyond his mere mortal club members, aided by the twin red cannondales of McNally and Tankard. CB (chopping block) were all aboard and there was little room for passengers. If you got on, you had no cover. Either get in and do turns or get out the back, cruel mongrels.
Half a lap later there was still no sign of the remnants of the limit group. How long can a man hold on, I wondered, as Baudry raced up the Lowan Avenue rise on the sheltered south western end. I knew exactly what you were trying to do, Christophe', attack me and my kind up the rises, you sharp end of a needle you. In chase mode down past the old cemetery at 56kms/hr and with a HR at 170bpm (90% again) you inflicted major damage. Not beaten yet, several of us hung on for dear life down the wind assisted straight of Wilga Road past the start/finish line to the shallow drop-away. Still, the cross wind neither aided nor assisted a struggling cyclist. Lokan and Shipsides joined in on the front for lap 6, good luck to you, I then checked out, p****d off big time. Lokan was to soon join me on the sidelines as "reward" for his effort. Can't wait to get to 50 (and join Barry, Arthur, Millsy, Kev Gregory), seems being mid 40's is no benefit at all to my cycling.
Sitting in the front passenger seat of Basil Taggert's car (much more civilised) following the lead bunch, Basil is recovering from pneumonia, we viewed the emergence of one Michael Shipsides as an A grade rider as he clung onto the scratch markers on the last lap. He was the only survivor of the now scattered and shattered peloton.
Another Lowan Avenue surge saw Shippy dropped, the pace eased on the crest, he rolled onto the back of the leaders and went round with momentum. Scooting away down the hill but posing no threat to the true scratchies, he peered over his shoulder noticed the 50metre break and went for it. Over the short sharp rises and the scratch riders watched to see when he would blow up. 100m before the final turn McNally had enough, jumped on the power and reeled him in within 15m of the corner. This left him on the front at the wrong time, the opportunity for the "big engine" to do his thing arose and he attacked, Baudry got his wheel and it was suddenly a sprint for 2. Tankard held on to win. Yep, he's back.
Dare I say it, it's on again next week. This time at the Barndeet Road intersection for a 70km graded scratch out to Nangiloc and return. Be mindful of the changed turn around situation, more on that during the week. 1.30pm start. Club Championships are looming, August 10 at Riverside.
1 Kev Tankard 1.24.00 (40km/h) 2 Chris Baudry 3 Rob McNally 0.20 4 Michael Shipsides 5 Nathan Welsh 6 Ian Beruldsen 0.40 7 Harvey Dwyer 1.05 8 Mark Phillips 9 Barry Pollock 1.10 10 Adrian Lloyd 3.14 11 Pete Mulhearn 3.15 12 David Priest 3.39 13 Kev Gregory 4.17 14 Harry Robbins 4.19 15 Ken Joy 4.42 16 Brendan Liddle 7.30 17 Robyn Doyle 20.49